Is Cambodia a third world country?

Cambodia is one of the poorest nations in the world. Here’s a quick look at whether that means Cambodia is considered to be a third world country.

Written by Michael Turtle

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle. A journalist for more than 20 years, he's been travelling the world since 2011.

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle and has been travelling full time for a decade.


Is Cambodia a third world country?

Cambodia is technically a third world country and is one of the poorest nation’s in the world. About a third of its citizens live on less than a dollar a day. Farming is the main industry for these people and there is a level of subsistence living where they grow what they need and have trouble affording extra items.

There is corruption in Cambodia and that has an effect on the ability of citizens to grow their own wealth. Much of the money that is coming into Cambodia stays with the upper class elite and doesn’t trickle down to the poorer classes.

Cambodia’s industries are growing and tourism is a big one these days. Clothing manufacturing is also a big employer and the country has natural resources which it is now utilising more than before. However, these sources of income are not necessarily being used by the country’s rulers to improve the lives of everyday people.

Neighbouring Vietnam and nearby China are investing in Cambodia and that is likely to help improve the country’s economy. However, the population of 15 million people will need a long time if they are going to grow out of poverty and into a more prosperous nation like some of its other Southeast Asian neighbours.

Other Cambodia FAQ:


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My recommendations for the best accommodation in Cambodia



2 thoughts on “Is Cambodia a third world country?”

  1. What a load of white privilege bullshit. Cambodia has one of the fastest growing economies in the world and full employment. Wages aren’t great, but the cost of living is low and poverty is being eradicated. The country is stable and well-governed so STFU.


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